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Ayreon - The Theory Of Everything Award winner

Ayreon
The Theory Of Everything
by Andrija "TheIslander" Petrovic at 24 October 2013, 7:38 PM

The master of concept albums/metal operas/metal musicals (however you want to call them, it`s fine. Cause you really can`t put it in one little labeled box, right?) Arjen Anthony Lucassen is back with his AYREON project and “The Theory Of Everything”. As we all know by now, it`s another album where each character of the story being portrayed by one singer. It comes five years after its predecessor “01011001” which concluded the original AYREON story. “The Theory of Everything” is the beginning of completely new storyline for the project. Unlike the previous sci-fi concept albums, it`s set in a realistic world.

The album is consisted of four 20+ minutes tracks (or Phases, as they`re named on album) “Singularity”, “Symmetry”, “Entanglement” and “Unification”, that are further divided into segments. The complete number of segments is 42, which equals to the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything” in “The Hitchhiker`s Guide to the Galaxy”.

The story is complicated but to put it in short, let me quote the words of Lucassen himself “it takes a look at the fine line between the genius and madness, focusing on the conflicting desires of the characters and the consequences of following their passions.” That`s just enough to know before listening to the album. If you`re anything like me, you`d wouldn`t want anyone to spoil the enjoyment of discovering the storyline yourself (it would be same as if I told you the ending of the movie you eagerly wanted to see).

“Phase I: Singularity” is the beginning of the story of The Prodigy (portrayed by Tommy Karevik, KAMELOT, SEVENTH WONDER), a boy genius that started working on the Theory of Everything thanks to his incredible ability in mathematics. The rest of important characters are introduced in this phase, such as The Father (Michael Mills, TOEHIDER), The Mother (Christina Scabbia, LACUNA COIL), The Girl (Sara Squadrani, ANCIENT BARDS), The Rival (Marco Hietala, NIGHTWISH, TAROT) and The Teacher (JB, GRAND MAGUS). Musically heavy and bit dark, part of “Phase I: Singularity” is the amazing instrumental “Progressive Waves” with incredible keyboard solo by Keith Emerson (ex- EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER) and amazing drum work by Jordan Rudess (DREAM THEATER).

“Phase II: Symmetry” carries quite similar sound like the previous phase, but also introduces one more character The Psychiatrist (John Welton, ASIA). It`s more electronically influenced than first phase,  and more acoustic, which get clear with the acoustic sounding “The Consultation” that opens this phase. The folkish sounding “The Rival`s Dilemma” has one of the catchiest melodies, with great vocal performance by Marco Hietala. “Quantum Chaos” is one of the best instrumental tracks from this phase, with great guitar solos.

“Phase III: Entanglement” opens with slow instrumental “Fluctuation” and whistles played by amazing Troy Donockley (NIGHTWISH). This phase carries the lighter sound, which changes from synths atmospheres to orchestral soundtrack like parts. One of the best tracks here is “Magnetism” with pipes played by who else than Troy (man just brings the incredible magic with his instruments). “Phase III: Entanglement” is definitely the best segment of the album with amazing diversity of melodies.

“Phase IV: Unification” is the grand finale of the album, opening with “Mirror of Dreams” acoustic Folkish track with female vocals. “The Parting” with it`s amazing guitar solo by Steve Hackett (ex-GENESIS) and simply incredible vocal performance by Mills is one of the highlights of this segment. “The Theory of Everything part 3” completes the concept of the album, rounds the storyline, before the last track “The Blackboard (Reprise)” which takes us back to the beginning, leaving the space for possible sequel of the story.

Most of the times there are jumps in mood, genre etc. in the middle of the song, which is quite typical for an AYREON release. The album runs from extremely heavy to folky interludes with classical overtones through. It`s quite impossible to listen it by skipping a single track. This is the album that you must listen in one take to get the whole experience. And when you get to the end of it, you`ll probably have the desire to listen to it all over again, just to make sure that you caught everything this album offers.

“The Theory Of Everything” may not be storyline connected to the previous AYREON releases, but sure it`s all here that you expect form AYREON album. Amazing music, amazing musicians and vocalists, and extraordinary story. It may not be for everyone, but if you like grandiose and challenging music you shouldn’t miss out this release. 

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Disc 1
Phase I: Singularity
1. Prologue: The Blackboard
2. The Theory Of Everything Part 1
3. Patterns
4. The Prodigy's World
5. The Teacher's Discovery
6. Love And Envy
7. Progressive Waves
8. The Gift
9. The Eleventh Dimension
10. Inertia
11. The Theory Of Everything Part 2

Phase II: Symmetry
12. The Consultation
13. Diagnosis
14. The Argument 1
15. The Rival's Dilemma
16. Surface Tension
17. A Reason To Live
18. Potential
19. Quantum Chaos
20. Dark Medicine
21. Alive!
22. The Prediction

Disc 2
Phase III: Entanglement
1. Fluctuations
2. Transformation
3. Collision
4. Side Effects
5. Frequency Modulation
6. Magnetism
7. Quid Pro Quo
8. String Theory
9. Fortune?

Phase IV: Unification
10. Mirror Of Dreams
11. The Lighthouse
12. The Argument 2
13. The Parting
14. The Visitation
15. The Breakthrough
16. The Note
17. The Uncertainty Principle
18. Dark Energy
19. The Theory Of Everything Part 3
20. The Blackboard (Reprise)
Lineup:
Band:

Vocalists:

JB (Grand Magus) as The Teacher
Sara Squadrani (Ancient Bards) as The Girl
Michael Mills (Toehider) as The Father
Christina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) as The Mother
Tommy Karevik (Kamelot, Seventh Wonder) as The Prodigy
Marco Hietala (Nightwish, Tarot) as The Rival
John Wetton (Asia) as The Psychiatrist
Wilmer Waarbroek – backing vocals

Musicians:

Arjen Anthony Lucassen – Electric / Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Mandolin, Analog Synthesizers, Hammond, Solina Strings
Ed Warby – Drums, Percussion
Rick Wakeman (ex-Yes) – Synthesizer solo, Piano
Keith Emerson (ex- Emerson, Lake & Palmer) – Synthesizer solo
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater) – Continuum solo
Steve Hackett (ex-Genesis) – Guitar solo
Troy Donockley (Nightwish) – Uillean pipes, whistles
Ben Mathot – Violin
Maaike Peterse - Cello
Jeroen Goossens – flutes, Bass Flute, Picolo, Bamboo Flute, Contrabass Flute
Siddharta Barnhoom – Orchestrations
Michael Mills (Toehider) – Irish bozouki
Record Label: InsideOut Music
     


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